DA WELCOMES PROPOSED CLAMPDOWN ON ILLEGAL SHEBEENS

Every day 130 South Africans die because of alcohol. South Africa holds the global record for the highest number of people subjected to alcohol-related harm.

We need to ensure that the Eastern Cape Department of Safely and Liaison involves the whole of society to clamp down on the misuse of alcohol. This will involve the churches, the liquor board, the SAPS and other organs of civil society and a close working relationship with municipalities.

I therefore welcome the fact that one of the areas which the department intends to focus on during the course of the coming year is that of the clamping down on illegal taverns.

There is a strong correlation between the misuse of alcohol and crime levels. Research has shown that people under the influence account for 25% of weapons-related offences, 22% of rapes, 17% of murders, 14% of assault cases, 22% of housebreaking cases and 10% of robberies. A shocking 49% of family violence cases are sparked by alcohol.

Alcohol abuse costs the economy an estimated R38 billion per year through violence, crime, HIV, absenteeism, low productivity and incarceration.

A particular area of focus needs to be the Cacadu District Municipality. This is the District Municipality with the highest murder rate in the country according to the South African Institute of Race Relations, which bases its figures on the 2008/9 crime statistics. Of all the districts in our province, including the Nelson Mandela Metro, it has the highest rate of all sexual offenses as well as drug-related crime.

Research also indicates that 69% of abused women say alcohol and drugs are the main cause of violence. We need a massive clampdown on illegal shebeens in this province.

I call on the Department to work with the SAPS and Local Government and to pull out all the stops to clamp down on alcohol abuse in this province.